The Epic v Apple trial keeps delivering interesting information, particularly about deals and spending related to the Epic Games Store. We've learned, for example, that in 2019 and 2020 Epic promised about $1 billion in advances for exclusives, including $115 million for Borderlands 3. A new trial exhibit—which was apparently released accidentally—shows that Epic offered Sony a $200 million advance to get first-party PlayStation games on the Epic Games Store exclusively.
We don't know what kind of deal Epic and Sony may have arrived at, as the document in question was made before any handshake. It says that Epic offered Sony "$200M MG+ for 4-6 titles" and was awaiting Sony's response. "MG" surely stands for "minimum guarantee," which is how Epic refers to these exclusivity deals: It's the minimum revenue Epic guarantees a game publisher will make with an Epic Games Store exclusive, whether or not their game actually sells enough to cover it.
The wording is somewhat ambiguous: Is it $200M per game, or $200M for all 4-6 games? It depends on the specific games, surely, and so far only two Sony-published games have released exclusively on the Epic Store: ReadySet Heroes and Predator: Hunting Grounds. One hopes Epic didn't put down $200M for Predator: Hunting Grounds, and $200M for both wouldn't make sense, either. Either a totally different deal was struck in the end, or those two games are part of a bigger batch of Sony-published exclusives coming to the Epic Games Store. (ReadySet Heroes remains exclusive, by the way, while Predator: Hunting Grounds has since released on Steam following a year of exclusivity.)
Other Sony-published games have released on the Epic Games Store, just not exclusively. Horizon Zero Dawn launched on the Epic Games Store and Steam simultaneously, and the upcoming PC release of Days Gone will do the same. If I had to guess, the original $200M pitch targeted those games, not ReadySet Heroes, but it's just a guess.
There's still no sign that Sony's flagship games, such as the Uncharted and God of War games, are coming to PC at all. An exclusive Epic Games Store release of Bloodborne would certainly be a win for Epic, and would start to make the $200 million figure more sensible, but we haven't heard anything on that front, I'm afraid.
Epic and Sony don't always see eye-to-eye (they had a bit of an argument over crossplay), but they are pretty tight. The PlayStation company even owns a bit of Epic: Sony put $200 million into the business recently, and invested $250 million last year. Sony's clearly got the ear of Epic CEO and controlling shareholder Tim Sweeney, and vice versa.
As for Microsoft, Epic's initial talks apparently turned up resistance. The document notes that the head of Xbox Game Pass for PC didn't like what Epic was up to with its store, and that Microsoft viewed Epic as a company it was competing with to sign games. It also mentions that Xbox head Phil Spencer and Valve boss Gabe Newell were having meetings at the time.
No surprise there: Microsoft quite openly backed Valve when it started putting its games on Steam again, including the Halo Master Chief Collection.
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